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The day I discovered the mindset of a misogynistic, or having the quality of despising women, and misandry tic, having the quality of despising men, self-proclaimed feminist, was the day I discovered I was allegedly no feminist at all. Instead, I was just a guy with an expensive Patagonia jacket, who had no idea what gender discrimination felt like.
I was in a photography class at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, when a volunteer walked in to assign the class a photography essay that was supposed to be about inequality. Then they began a rant about gender inequality and what we need to do about it. In this person’s mind, men are more athletic and oppressive than women, and women are more smart and caring. Based on these myths, women need to go to societal war with men and defeat every male in power- because every person in power is male.
In my mind, this was wrong.
First, this person believed they were a feminist because they thought that this world should be a mix of men being oppressed with a few women exceptions. I said I was a feminist because I believed that the true way to fix any kind of structurally ingrained gender favoritism is to not believe in gender at all! Gender is a thing that has some real implications, but implications that are exploded into myths… myths that become key social constructs. In my mind, I was right.
My classmates supported my interpretation so much that they gave me high-fives and head-nods. The volunteer got no high-fives or head-nods.
Then I was kicked out of class.
I learned from this lesson not to be too optimistic about comprehensive egalitarianism in West Oakland, whether it is for gender, racial or even financial equality. But I also learned not to be too pessimistic, because now a class the size of two ten-person debate teams was all the wiser. That is one person per 20 new minds. That is one major spark. That is one potential harbinger for a great trend.